Mike on Crime
with Mike McIntyre
- HERE to read), Wyant had agreed to allow a live audio broadcast of next week's high-profile decision surrounding a former Winnipeg police officer involved in a deadly crash.Local talk-radio station CJOB had made the initial request, and Wyant decided that this would be the case to break some new ground. He would allow a "pool" microphone to send a feed from his courtroom across the airwaves.This would mean that anybody who wants to could listen to every single word of a decision that is sure to be extremely controversial.To recap, Derek Harvey-Zenk killed a mother of three after slamming into her stopped vehicle following a night of partying with his police colleagues after their shift had ended. There was definitely drinking involved, and Harvey-Zenk refused a breathalyser demand.However, massive problems with the investigation by the much-maligned East St. Paul police service - including how and when the breath demand was made - apparently forced the Crown to drop all alcohol-related charges.Submissions were made on the case several weeks ago, with both Crown and defence lawyers making a joint-recommendation for a conditional sentence that would spare Harvey-Zenk a jail term.The family of victim Crystal Taman howled in protest. The public responded in anger, flooding local talk shows and penning letters to the editor. And Wyant was clearly uncomfortable with the proposal, even requested lawyers to return to court last month to answer additional questions and make further submissions.Even then, Wyant was obviously still unhappy with the lack of information coming his way.So now, as he prepares to deliver his decision on Monday, Wyant made the decision to give the public as much information as possible.That doesn't mean he still won't be second-guessed. But at least the public would be fully informed of his exact reasons behind the decision - straight from the proverbial horse's mouth.So what's the problem with that?In my view, absolutely nothing. Judges routinely complain that the public doesn't fully understand or appreciate what they are dealing with as they try to craft the elusive "perfect" sentence.As a member of the media, I agree they have a point. Short of running a verbatim transcript of their decision in the newspaper - which space would never allow for - we are tasked with trying to sum up their reasons for judgment in a concise, accurate story that also represents the views of other parties with a stake. That means reactions from the victims, their families and even Crown and defence lawyers whenever possible.So this was their chance to make their voices heard. There would be absolutely no editing involved. It would go straight from Wyant's mouth into the ears of anyone who wanted to listen.So why did judges get so upset at this concept that they had a letter sent to Wyant expressing concerns, which indirectly came across as questioning his leadership?I certainly don't have the answers. I suspect Wyant doesn't either. Sources tell me he's as surprised at the backlash as anybody.One source said it best - "You can't suck and blow at the same time". But that's exactly what the judges who oppose this are doing.They're complaing you the public aren't nearly as informed as you need to be. And then they're standing in the way of allowing you to be better informed.This makes even less sense considering courts are public places that everyone is allowed to attend - and listen directly to a judge's decision if they wish.Of course, reality tells us the vast majority of people aren't able to take time out of their busy days to physically come to the downtown Law Courts. But giving them another medium to listen - such as on the radio of even through streaming audio on the Internet (which is a tool the Free Press would likely utilize in such a case) - is a brilliant way to bring the courtroom to the masses.Fortunately, Wyant isn't giving up. He's going to press ahead, hold a meeting with all judges and apparently table a policy that would give individual judges the discretion to choose whether to allow for broadcasts of their decisions.We know where Wyant will stand on that issue the next time a high-profile case comes before him.Let's hope other Manitoba judges follow his lead, realize this is a win-win for everybody and put away their criticism in exchange for some common sense.What do you think about this issue? Post your thoughts below, and make sure to take a second to vote on my website Jury Poll question by clicking HERE.I can tell you this - some judges may not want you to hear them. But they are definitely reading this and will hear you!
- HERE)And when this beautiful young woman decided not to terminate her pregnancy, the decision was made to terminate her. And her baby.Is there anyone out there that doesn't view this as a double murder?The following press release was sent to me after my story ran across the country. It was from a group called the Campaign Life Coalition and titled "The Conservative government must act to recognize violence towards women and their unborn children." TORONTO, Oct. 18 - Another case has come forward in the media today where a young Winnipeg woman was murdered by a seventeen year old man because she refused to abort her baby. This case adds to three others, Aysun Sesen (October 2007), Olivia Talbot (December 2005) and Liana White (July 2005).“The Conservative government must act in recognizing that these four babies are indeed human beings and were brutally killed along with their mothers who wanted their babies. The murderous acts were directed at both of mother and baby,” said Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition (CLC).“The government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the suffering of the grandparents who has lost both their daughters and their grandchildren,” he continued.“Roxanne Fernando was beaten to death by a seventeen year old youth who cannot be named because of his age but who has pleaded guilty to the brutal murder,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, National Organizer of CLC.“Roxanne died to protect her unborn child. Both she and her baby deserve to see justice done to the perpetrator,” she said.Campaign Life Coalition urges the federal government to deal with this issue immediately. The Prime Minister has made his justice bills front and centre in the throne speech. How about justice for the mothers and their unborn victims of violence too! Where do you stand on this? Let's get a discussion going by posting your thoughts below.I'll also have plenty more on this topic on my "Crime and Punishment" radio show, heard Sunday nights from 7-9 p.m. CST across the Corus and Rawlco radio networks.
- Pardon Services, joined me on my national radio show Sunday night and said she's never seen someone with so many convictions as Allan get a pardon.Usually, she says, the applicants have one or two indiscretions they're hoping to clean up.But 88???None of this would have even been discovered if not for convictions number 89 and 90 - the two sex assaults Allan admitted to last year.That meant the parole board revoked his pardon and everything came back into play.Unfortunately, the justice system has no way of going back in time and revoking Allan's conditional sentence and giving this creep exactly what he deserves - a long stint behind bars.Keep the discussion going - and make your voice heard - by posting your thoughts below.
- "Wild night on Charleswood Road".Some felt police made a mountain out of a molehill. Others suggested it was the officers - not the teen revellers - who were being "hostile". And some said police should just let teens be teens, essentially.I can understand their frustration. But I can also see why police would want to clamp down on such a party, given the fact teens plus testosterone plus alcohol can often equal trouble.And let's not forget it was area residents - and even some parents - who called police in to break up the festivities.Now, one might debate whether having at least 20 cruiser cars on a busy Friday night devoted to this call is a case of overkill.But as my story pointed out, one such party turned deadly last summer in Saskatoon when a young woman was stabbed to death.Anyways, I'd be curious to know where you stand on this issue. Should police have just ignored the event or were they right to come down hard?And does the fact an estimated 400 youths had gathered for this party leave you wondering what they had told their parents about what they were going to be doing that night?Post your thoughts below.
- TMZ.com and PerezHilton.com are among the most frequented on the web. TV shows like Entertainment Tonight, The Insider and Access Hollywood stop channel surfers in their tracks.So who can blame the main networks for taking a "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mentality?For that reason, I'm curious what you think about the O.J. Simpson gong show that is currently dominating coverage, both mainstream and tabloid (or are they now one in the same?)Unless you live in a cave - in which I'd be really interested to know how you're reading this! - you simply can't avoid this "mega-story."But that doesn't mean you have to like it.So fess up.Are you glued to your TV sets, spending hours surfing the Web and salivating at the thought of picking up a fresh batch of magazines at the grocery store this weekend?Are you disgusted at the fact this is what passes for news and can't believe far more relevant stories - there's still a war going on, right? - are being passed over?Or are you greeting this all with a collective yawn and simply going about your daily business, not wasting a single brain cell wondering if the O.J. tape was doctored, whether the Goldman family will get their proceeds and who Nancy Grace has lined up to yell at tonight?Post your thoughts below - and click HERE to vote on my latest Jury Poll question on this very topic.
- "Crime and Punishment" national radio show.I'd brought him on to talk about his group's recent "graduation" ceremony in Alberta and comments Sliwa had made about a "crisis in crime" he said was occurring in both Calgary and Edmonton.It wasn't long before talk quickly turned to Winnipeg.After all, we were at the tail end of a weekend which had seen two men killed, another two shot and wounded and another pair stabbed in six apparently separate incidents.And those were just the crimes Winnipeg police had released to the public. (More on that in a future post)Sliwa was stunned by what he was hearing and immediately lumped Winnipeg into the same category as Calgary and Edmonton - which he'd previously compared to major U.S. cities battling huge crime rates.A few callers quickly jumped on Sliwa for what they felt was an unfair analysis. Others, however, thought he was right on the mark. Sliwa said Winnipeg is ripe for his group to set up shop. Wearing their trademark red berets, the Guardian Angels are comprised of unarmed volunteers who receive three months training in martial arts and self-defence and patrol crime-ridden neighbourhoods in groups of four or more.What has made them somewhat controversial in some people's eyes is the fact they will exercise their right to make citizen's arrests when they see trouble unfolding.This has left police and politicians in some communities fearful of endorsing what they see as a group of vigilantes.I don't buy it. All we ever seem to hear from police is how backlogged they are, how resources are being stretched to the limit and how response times aren't what they should be.Barely a day goes by at the Free Press that we don't hear from someone complaining about the actions - or inactions - of the police.At any given time on any given day, there may be dozens or perhaps hundreds of calls for service waiting in the queue.That's not acceptable. And police would be the first to admit it. They're doing all they can under trying circumstances and clearly need help.Enter the Guardian Angels. Can anyone honestly say the thought of a large group of visible members walking through the North End and downtown areas in the middle of the night wouldn't offer some comfort that currently isn't there?The Guardian Angels are currently in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto. Sliwa said Halifax will be their next stop, with Regina and Saskatoon to follow soon.So what is Winnipeg waiting for?Sliwa said he will visit the city later this fall to make a personal pitch. Let's hope local leaders roll out the red carpet for the red berets.
- If you're currently thinking about your winter travel plans, I invite you to read the information below. I promise you won't find a better deal anywhere!As well, we are also hosting a “CRUISE INFORMATION NIGHT” on Tuesday, September 25 at 7 P.M. in Winnipeg.We’d love you to join us for a fun night for info/daydreaming. It’s being held at Journeys Travel and Leisure Centre, 102-326 Wardlaw Avenue at Donald. Just phone 942-5000 in Winnipeg or toll-free at 1-800-859-6354 to let the folks at Journeys know you'll be attending.CRUISE INFO:You will depart Thursday January 24/08, overnight in Miami, and then depart on a 9-day cruise Friday January 25, returning Sunday February 3.You will be on board a brand new ship, the Norwegian Pearl, touring through the exotic Southern Caribbean.You will make five ports of call in Tortolo, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados and the Dominican Republic. There are three days “at-sea”PRICES:Prices include: Return airfare, cruise, hotel in Miami, Florida night before cruise, all transfers, welcome aboard cocktail party, one shore excursion, $25 Journey’s gift certificate.INSIDE STATEROOM – $1,971 per personOCEAN VIEW STATEROOM – $2,191 per personBALCONY – $2,957 per personOTHER INFO:We only have 20 cabins blocked off this year and interest has been really high since I started mentioning it on my weekly national radio show and website. Journey’s has also been doing weekly newspaper advertising.At last check only five or six cabins are remaining!This is shaping up to be the most exciting of the three cruises we will have done, in our opinion. Here’s why:-It is longer, 9 days instead of 7, as several of our past cruisers have expressed an interest in going for a couple more days. Who can blame them??? You won’t want to leave either!-It is on a brand new ship. The Norwegian Pearl just launched in December, so it should still have the “new ship smell” when we climb aboard next January! One of the coolest features – a 10-pin bowling alley on board!-It is more exotic. And likely hotter. And with even more to do. The Southern Caribbean ports of call are truly wonderful, and we have heard great stories about them all from many veteran cruisers. Perhaps the best part about them are the volume of off-shore excursions to choose from, which are certainly far greater then what we’ve had the first two years. It seems like there’s an activity for absolutely everyone.As you likely know, signing on for a “group” cruise is simply a great way to get a better rate. Because our sponsor, Journey’s Travel, is buying in bulk, they can secure much better pricing then what an individual couple could get.As well, it’s a great way to experience new things with like-minded folks who may end up becoming good friends.However, don’t think going with a group means you won’t get to chart your own adventure. You will have all the time in the world to do absolutely everything you like. There are no commitments whatsoever.If you’d like to simply treat it as if you were just going by yourselves – yet taking advantage of the discounted group rate – there’s nothing wrong with that.If you’d like to hang out with some of the other Canadian cruisers in the group, well, you’re more than welcome as well. In the past two years, we usually ate dinners as a group and took in a few nightly theatre shows together. But with the exception of our on-board cocktail party and the one included group excursion, everyone has tended to go their own way the remainder of the time. It’s been a perfect mix of private time and socializing.This year, the eating situation is a little bit different. Our boat has 13 different restaurants to choose from and something called “Freestyle Cruising” which basically gives you the option to eat whenever you want, whereever you want. This obviously could change our ability to eat as a group, but we’d like to try and make an effort to get as many people together for dinners each evening in the same place at the same time as we’ve really enjoyed spending that extra time together getting to know everyone while sharing amazing five-course meals!So, if you are thinking this would be a great way to getaway for a bit next winter, don’t hesitate!You can email me for more information (email@example.com) or call Journeys as soon possible.PHONE: 942-5000 in Winnipeg or toll-free at 1-800-859-6354 Hope to see you on board!
- HERE in my original story, I clearly stated there are no suggestions Minuk has done anything wrong and he is a well-respected lawyer. Yet the story talked about "optics" - the very reason Manitoba Justice said their own very competent staff Crowns were apparently unable to prosecute Harvey-Zenk."It wouldn't look right" is the general answer given, because the Crown often work closely with police. Never mind the fact you could easily find numerous prosecutors who'd never even met Harvey-Zenk, it was all about the appearance.And that's fine. But it's perfectly fair then to ask how the appearance of Minuk's role in the case is somehow better, given his role as a defence lawyer, close (and very recent) working relationship with Wolson and the fact he's previously represented cops.All fair questions.Yet Minuk is now up in arms. Even Wolson called the reporting "scandalous" in court on Wednesday.Scandalous??? Funny, that's a word many are using to describe the debacle the Harvey-Zenk case has become.And the case only sunk into further chaos after Wednesday.Wyant - admitting he is struggling with his decision - was practically begging both lawyers to give him more information about circumstances surrounding the crash.He even offered to pause the hearing so that Minuk could call evidence about the eight or so hours that passed between the end of Harvey-Zenk's shift and the deadly crash.Wyant was especially interested in hearing more about Harvey-Zenk's drinking that night.Seemed like a perfectly logical request - especially after you hear the Taman family say they were told at one point the Crown had 33 witnesses lined up to testify. Some of those surely had to be the other cops who were with Harvey-Zenk. And what about the paramedic at the scene?Yet Minuk rejected Wyant's offer. He didn't even consult with the Taman family. Or explain to the court why he wouldn't provide any more information. He just said 'No'.And so a clearly frustrated Wyant retreated into his chambers, saying he needs more time to mull over a case in which he candidly admits to being somewhat in the dark about, at least in terms of potentially important issues.And the Taman family was left, once again, wondering what the hell just happened. And what exactly is being hidden from them.There's no doubt Minuk, Wolson and Harvey-Zenk wish this case would have just quietly fell beneath the radar and been quickly disposed of.Thank goodness it didn't.I wish I knew all the answers. I've managed to dig up some of them, and I will continue trying to find out the rest.If that's what constitutes shoddy journalism, then colour me Yellow.Thoughts? Post them below, please and thanks.
- HERE, or catch the show after the fact by going to the following AUDIO VAULT and simply plugging in the date and time)Also, if you'd like show previews such as this e-mailed directly to you every Saturday - along with breaking news alerts on major crime and justice stories - please take a second to join my website mailing list by clicking HERE. It's quick, easy and free.Here's a look at what's planned for this Sunday's show:GUESTS: CURTIS SLIWA - Founder/leader of the Guardian Angels will discuss his recent comments about a crime "crisis" in Alberta, expansion plans to Saskatchewan and which province is next on his controversial group's radar. Read story HERE.SANDY MUNROE - Nova Scotia man has just returned from visiting his wife in England and is closer to finally bringing her home following a recent court ruling. The elderly woman, who suffers from Alzheimer's, has been at the centre of a lengthy battle after Munroe claims family members "kidnapped" her without his consent. Read story HERE. BOB TARANTINO - Toronto lawyer/author/blogger will discuss his new book, "Under Arrest: Canadian Laws You Won't Believe" in which he examines the lighter, stranger side of the Criminal Code. Click HERE for more details on the book.MIKE COOK - Defence lawyer representing five Chinese migrants from Ontario will discuss a high-profile criminal trial in which they claimed to have been tricked into working on a $19 million Manitoba marijuana farm. Read story HERE.OTHER STORIES WE WILL DISCUSS (all of them, and more, can be found at www.mikeoncrime.com)-winnipeg soldier charged with brutally assaulting his triplets-manitoba teen accused of killing sister, stepmother was exposed to cocaine in womb, court hears-convicted drug dealer gets new trial after calgary judge fell asleep during sentencing-oops! name of youth mistakenly charged with murder appears on nova scotia court docket-sex offender released in new brunswick, arrested in bc later in day-rejected by city, soup kitchen volunteers turn to hells angels-police say mass b.c. killer answered 911 dispatcher's call-defence begins calling case in pickton trial-supreme court convicts man in strange sex assault case-judge convicted of sex crimes denied day parole-coach head-butted by angry dad wins damages-police accuse man of posing as doctor then exposing self to women at UBC-gang-related shooting near langley school-police officer shoots pitbull that mauled woman-man accused of threatening alberta premier to go straight to trial-alberta teen girl gets probation for obstruction of justice in family slaying case-man wanted in shooting outside calgary movie theatre turns himself in-massive meth shipment seized in calgary-inmate tells saskatchewan police commission it was friend that left teen to freeze-saskatchewan teen charged with mischief after false claims of assault-no witnesses to broad daylight slaying in winnipeg, jury told-retired winnipeg doctor turned tables on nigerian scam artist-cops pulled plug on undercover robbery sting over fears of bloodshed-no jail for man who brokered disturbing online sex trade with teen-missing bong sparks machete madness-dad charged with killing infant after lengthy probe-ex-toronto cop goes on trial for murder-teen stabbed to death outside toronto school-police lay charge in crash that left jacksoul lead singer critically injured-dawson college marks tragic anniversary-bedard's breach of custody trial beginsINTERNATIONAL-police say kidnapping of black woman was hate crime-mother of slain girl known as "precious doe" pleads guilty-o.j simpson investigated for armed robbery-parents named as suspects in missing maddy case-leader of polygamist sect goes on trial over teen cousins wedding-chris benoit's diary released-jury finds for ex-detroit cops against mayor and city-five found guilty in chicago mob trial-mother pleads guilty to abducting twins from adoptive parents, fleeing to canada-trial opens in new york for canadian biker accused of blowing up informant-new jersey cops capture confessed killer who escaped from mental hospital-tennessee conducts first electric chair execution since 1960-anti-war protester can't find soldier, kills civillian with axe instead-two suspects killed as gunmen break into armed transport company-german police arrest suspect in stabbing of rabbi-accused in russian chessboard murders lured victims with vodkaODDLY-74-year-old fights off would-be mugger-michigan man caught red handed by his own burglar booby trap-man, 70, charged with auto theft day after release from jail-rivalry gone bad; football fan nearly castrated in bloody bar brawl-judge makes house call to ensure accused is sick-police say minnesota robber licked woman's toes-bank robber used his own cheque to write note-man dubbed hat bandit admits to 18 bank robberies-undercover cops hook trio selling catfish bait mixed with vinegar
- HERE)The Crown doesn't buy their excuse, arguing these accused must have realized they were being pulled into an illegal enterprise.And if the promise of up to $300 a day didn't do it, what they saw upon arrival in rural Manitoba surely must have, the Crown says.All five accused have now testified in their own defence - through translators - and are sticking to their stories that they were innocent dupes.Some thought they were on a fruit and vegetable farm. Another man believed he was harvesting "Chinese medicinal herbs".It's an interesting case. With an even more interesting defence. We may have a verdict by the end of the week.In the meantime, what do you think? Guilty or not guilty? And are you, like some folks who have written to me, ticked that police poured so many resources into a marijuana operation? Or was this money well spent?
- www.mikeoncrime.com "Jury Poll" had only 29 per cent support for Lord Black's quest to get his convictions tossed out of court and a new trial ordered.The other 71 per cent believed Black was rightfully convicted and should be preparing to take his legal medicine.I update the Jury Poll question every few days and it's always interesting to take the pulse of the people on hot-button topics of the day.Some other recent "verdicts" rendered by the court of public opinion:*87 per cent of people believe a Winnipeg police officer should go to jail for killing a mother of three following a night of drinking and partying with colleagues. *92 per cent of people say Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mark Bell should do his six-month drunk driving sentence immediately, and not after the NHL season is finished as a judge is allowing him to do*81 per cent of people said kids under the age of 12 who kill should face criminal charges. Currently the law doesn''t allow for that.*And in one of our closest votes in recent memory, 51 per cent of people believe the Canadian government should intervene and offer help to a former Winnipeg man serving a life sentence for drug dealing in a Greece prison.Feel free to keep the discussion going by posting your thoughts on these, or other issues of the day, below.And don't forget to visit the website often to cast your vote.As well, take a moment if you haven't already to sign up for my website "Mailing List". It's quick, easy and free and gets you breaking news alert on major crime and justice stories, plus exclusive previews of my national "Crime and Punishment" radio show every weekend.
- HERE to read "Fear of death all in a night's work"Click HERE to read "Victim's friend chases clues to catch killer"Click HERE to read "Dates pay the mortgage, independent call girl Maggie saysClick HERE to read "Woman found way off street, mours slaying of friend")We were surprised at how willing some of these women were to talk to us, which might be a sign that they recognize the increasing dangers they face on the streets given the fact several sex-trade workers have been slain in recent months with no arrests.Is a serial killer at work? Some women definitely think so. Yet it became painfully clear few are doing anything to protect themselves from the risks they face every night despite the fact a killer, or killers, are still out there.We saw many girls working alone, standing on dark streets with nobody around for blocks. Who would ever be able to tell police about the specifics of their last pick-up should they leave in a vehicle and never return?It was obvious that a certain paranoia about police exists and that sharing information about what they've seen is not on their list of priorities.The most common theme - which didn't come as a surprise - was the prevalence of drugs, specifically cocaine. Many women we stopped and spoke with candidly admitted they are slaves to the drug and routinely expose themselves to danger because they need to feed their addiction.I've said for several years the biggest problem in Winnipeg, and many other major Canadian cities these days, is cocaine use.Nearly every crime that occurs - from the theft of your car, break-in to your home or that drive-by shooting you read about - can be traced back to crack.It's also clear to me that government has been far too slow to respond to the needs of the community and offer the kinds of services that are desperately needed.I'm also really beginning to think we have hit a point where we must consider throwing in the towel and admit prostitution is never going to go away. That we've lost the fight, if you will, to clean up the streets.That's because the demand for paid sex will always be there. And when you have demand, supply is usually quick to follow.I admit I'm somewhat ashamed for my gender that so many of "us" feel the need to prey upon the weak and vulnerable to satisfy "our" carnal pleasures. I'd challenge any of these Johns to actually walk a mile in these girl's shoes. Or just spend a night watching and talking to them like we did.I hardly think they'd see them as easy scores. They would see them as victims, plain and simple.So what to do?Many women we spoke to on the streets this week said they believe the only way to reduce the violence is to legalize prostitution, build some safe-houses and bring in a level of control that currently doesn't exist.It's certainly not a new idea. But it sure is a controversial one.But if we truly want the killings to stop, it may be the only way.Agree or disagree? Got another idea? Post your thoughts below.
- HERE)Anyone else out there feel a tad uncomfortable with this????Now, I realize in some ways comparing the two cases is like apples and oranges.The foul-mouthed felon, Michael Kolba, is clearly a troubled young man with a hair-trigger temper and a violent past. As a Winnipeg courtroom heard this week, Kolba lost his cool after Judge Brian Corrin denied him bail. And although he apologized for his outburst, both the Crown and the sentencing judge, Kelly Moar, felt jail was the only fit punishment.The deadly car crasher, former Winnipeg police officer Derek Harvey-Zenk, is regarded as an upstanding citizen with no prior record who made a a terrible mistake. As a Winnipeg courtroom last week, Harvey-Zenk has already resigned from his job and now carries a heavy burden for his actions. The story has since taken on a life of its own over serious misconduct allegations against former East St. Paul police chief Harry Bakema and the role that may have played in drunk driving charges being dropped and the Crown recommending a conditional sentence. Chief Judge Ray Wyant has reserved his decision.Still, I can't help but feel there's something wrong with a system that will send a person to jail for hurting someone's feelings - yet keep a person in the community for stealing someone's life.The federal Conservative government has made plenty of noise recently about bringing in some mandatory minimum jail sentences for violent crimes.I personally believe that should include offences of dangerous and/or drunk driving causing death. Yet many lawyers I talk to don't think that will ever happen.Their reason? Harvey-Zenk committed what many view as a "crime of the middle class" - an otherwise law-abiding citizen making a tragic error in judgment. And the government would never want to create a situation where the Harvey-Zenk's of this world are automatically tossed in jail.Judges often talk of "specific deterrence", and it's clear jail wouldn't accomplish much in that area for most of the people who find themselves in these types of situations. I don't doubt for a second that Harvey-Zenk and so many others are racked with guilt that will never go away.Yet what about the principle of "general deterrence"? What is being done right now to scare the ^&%#$! out of others who might follow the same tragic path following a day and night of partying, drinking and sleep deprivation?It's a tough issue, one that I suspect Chief Judge Wyant is having a difficult time weighing.But judging by the volume of phone calls and e-mails I've received in the past week, the court of public opinion is definitely in session.Feel free to post your views below.
- Amadeus Steen Foundation and Children's Hospital, so our public flogging is all for a great cause.Tickets are only $5 (click HERE to get 'em) and the first 1,000 people get wristbands for an autograph signing session after the game (with the hockey stars, not us media slugs).Now, my dreams of taking Teemu deep, robbing Hawerchuk of a home run or stealing a base off Steen may have been dashed this past week by a very ill-timed injury.My pre-game training regiment - a leisurely Saturday afternoon jog - left me with what emergency room medical staff believe are torn ligaments in my right ankle.Therefore, depending on how the next few days go, I may be relegated to a base coach or bat boy. But I wouldn't miss taking in the game for the world, and I hope you'll join me in what should be a tremendous afternoon at the ball park.The other event, Sunday September 9, 1 p.m., at Thunder Rapids Amusement Park in Winnipeg, will see me trading my batting helmet for a racing helmet. I'll be behind the wheel of a souped-up Go-Kart, along with several colleagues from the Free Press, taking on teams from other media outlets in a high-speed race to the finish line.Apparently we'll also be dodging a steady stream of water balloons being hurled our way, all in the name of raising funds and awareness for Huntington's Disease.The "media challenge" races actually cap off a weekend of activities, with other family fun planned for September 8. Call Vern Barrett at 694-1779 for more information.Get your motor runnin' and see you at the track! Admission is free.I actually keep a running list of public activities - which mostly involve radio and television interviews but also public speaking engagements and book signings - on my www.mikeoncrime.com website.Click HERE to view all events, past and present.
- HERE)"We're being kept in the dark here," Crystal's husband, Robert Taman, told me Wednesday outside court.That is absolutely pathetic, especially for a province that claims to care so strongly about the interests of victims.*Why were drunk driving charges dropped against Derek Harvey-Zenk, the former Winnipeg police officer who smashed into Taman's car and killed her in February 2005? There seems to be no question that Harvey-Zenk refused police demands for a breathalyzer. So then why was he given a free pass on that charge?*What exactly did the East St. Paul police do - or not do - that resulted in the Crown apparently having no choice but to drop the drunk driving charges? It's clear that something happened. But nobody is saying a word. And given the recent controversies surrounding the East St. Paul detachment, a full explanation must be given and fast.*Why did private lawyer Marty Minuk - who was hired as special Crown prosecutor in this case to avoid any perceptions of a conflict of interest - agree to recommend a conditional sentence for Harvey-Zenk? There are many documented cases where the Crown has sought jail against a driver in a similar situation. Why not this time?*Why did this case drag through the courts for 30 months before anything happened? This was ridiculous, even for the normally slow-moving wheels of justice. They never even got to the stage of having a preliminary hearing, or setting trial dates.*Why did Minuk order an "independent investigation" of the original police probe into Taman's death? And what, if anything, did they find? Minuk made reference to this during Wednesday's sentencing but gave no other details, which only raised more troubling questions.The final question - should Harvey-Zenk go to jail for killing Taman? - will be answered in a couple weeks.Provincial court Chief Judge Ray Wyant clearly has a difficult task ahead of him. It's clear he's considering jumping the deal, but he's also aware the Manitoba Court of Appeal usually ends up having something to say when judges don't go along with the joint-recommendation of experienced lawyers.Richard Wolson, the lawyer representing Harvey-Zenk, made a not-so-subtle comment to Wyant on this very subject when he pointed out that he and Minuk "have a combined 65 years experience."The underlying message in that statement - be very careful about second guessing what we're doing here.Yet the public - and especially Taman's family - have every right to question what is happening in this case.So what do you think? Are you satisfied with the way this case is being handled? Should Harvey-Zenk - a clearly remorseful individual with no prior criminal record - be thrown in jail?Post your thoughts below.As well, I strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to read the very powerful victim impact statements from Taman's husband and three children.We've obtained full transcripts at the Free Press and posted them online, which you can read by clicking HERE. Make sure you have a box of Kleenex nearby.You can also click HERE to see some video of Robert Taman speaking outside of court on Wednesday.Let's get the discussion on this case going - a lot of powerful people in the justice system are reading this blog so your voice will be heard.www.mikeoncrime.com
- HERE)Yet Bell doesn't have to worry about missing a single game this upcoming NHL season - because a judge is allowing him to wait to enter the legal penalty box until the off-season.And with time off for good behaviour, Bell will likely be out in time for next year's training camp.Is this a case of Bell, a pro athlete, getting special treatment?Perhaps, but not necessarily.I've seen judges delay sentencing people to jail in a handful of cases over the years, based on the fact they were working at the time and needed to finish a job, fulfill a contract, or get their affairs in order, so to speak.In Bell's case, his employment happens to be as a multi-million dollar hockey player, which certainly gets his case far more attention than that of the average Joe.One of the key factors of jail is supposed to be rehabilitation. And judges will say that holding down a job is considered a positive step in that direction.Now, there's an obvious difference here between a hockey player like Bell and a common citizen which will no doubt have some gritting their teeth.Bell's skills likely wouldn't diminish to any degree based on serving his sentence now, and one would expect he would be just as employable once he's released, despite the conviction hanging over him.Joe Citizen, meanwhile, might have a much harder time explaining to his boss why he can't come to work for the next six months. And an even harder time finding someone to trust him enough to give him another chance when he's out.In that sense, the Mark Bells of the world are getting a much easier ride from the courts.What do you think? Post your thoughts below, and go to my website HERE and cast your vote in my new Jury Poll.
About Mike McIntyre
Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.
Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.
Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.
He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.
Blogs that Mike McIntyre follows:
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